Drought Causes Brush Fire Concerns | NECN
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Drought Causes Brush Fire Concerns

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fire spotters remained on high alert Monday, as drought conditions created high fire danger across Massachusetts. (Published Monday, July 25, 2016)

    Fire spotters remained on high alert Monday, as drought conditions created high fire danger across Massachusetts.

    "This summer has been really different for us," said David Celino, the chief fire warden for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation. "We have had some abnormal fire occurrence levels, more than we have seen in 20 years for this time, this part of the summer."

    Firefighters had their hands full late last week battling a seven-acre fire near a scout camp.

    "Because it's so dry, the fire burns very deeply into the ground, takes a lot of water," said Sudbury Fire Chief Bill Miles. "In a spring or a fall brush fire, you might take the hose and spray it down for a minute or two and walk away. But this time of the year, because the fire burns so far into the ground, you spray it, and you think you have it out, and you turn around and it's rekindled again."

    At the Sudbury Fire Tower, firefighters monitor the horizon for any sign of trouble.

    Celino says spotters are key to controlling fires, getting firefighters to scenes as fast as possible.

    "Seven acres in April, you would come in and attack that and it would simply be the top layer of the leaf litter," Celino said.

    He estimates fighting that fire in April would take 300-800 gallons of water. But now?

    "That same fire, a seven-acre fire, could take as much as 30-60,000 gallons of water just to put those fuels out on the ground, and if we don't them out, the perimeters aren't secure," Celino added.

    Miles asked for common sense as he, and fire chiefs across the state look for some rain.

    "We need a lot rain, and not just an afternoon thundershower," Miles said. "We could really use a couple of days of steady rain."

    "These fires are burning as much as 8 to 10 inches into the ground," Celino added. "It is labor intensive but it is also a fire fighter safety issue."

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